Everybody talks about the food.
Note! That so far I have not mentioned food … well, mainly because it’s close to lunch time and I’m hungry and thinking about food on a ship makes me hungrier. Gourmet meals are standard fare. Your choices are from lavish, endless buffets to specialty restaurants for many tastes and there is always food available around the clock. Freestyle was the word of the day on the NCL Getaway, which meant there were restaurants that were included in the cost and offered plenty of choice and then, there were several dining rooms that required an additional tariff. There is no way you can go hungry on a cruise!
Do your homework to select a cruise line. Most cruise lines go to the same ports of call but onboard amenities and accommodations can differ significantly. Some cruise lines are more expensive than others, some offer better facilities/programs for children, tweens & teens, some are more casual about dress codes than others, some cater to and are more accommodating to reunions.
Okay, so here’re the hard facts you need to make your decision.
First, it is not possible to answer the question: “How much does it cost?”
There are many factors and variables that affect cost including dates, duration, destination(s), cabin type and ports of embarkation and debarkation.
The best rates are usually in spring and fall and non-holiday seasons. You’ll want to compare rates to the duration to get the best deal. Be aware that more and more cruises, especially in the Caribbean, are 7 days including 4 days with ports of call.
Destination is an important factor in cost. Bahama and Caribbean cruises offer the best bang for your buck. Hawaii and Alaska are examples of pricier cruises. Plus, some destinations are seasonal. Weather and climate could affect your cruise experience. Early spring in Alaska can be a little chillier, but days are longer, wildlife abounds and pricing is great, the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, while pretty much the same year round, can suffer in hurricane season (June 1st to November 30th) though costs are better then.
The type of cabin you choose also enters into cost. When booking for a reunion, you’ll want to have a variety of cabins; interior, ocean view, and balcony. Interior cabins are least expensive. Modestly priced balcony cabins are the most popular. NCL even has Solo Studio Cabins for single travelers.
Modestly priced balcony cabins are the most popular.
Your port of embarkation/debarkation is also a consideration. It is wise to arrive the day before the cruise because the embarkation process starts early. If you choose a large ship, your embarkation and disembarkation procedure can be challenging depending on when you arrive at the pier and how fast you wish to disembark the ship, but cruise lines have a very good system in place, patience is a virtue. If you book a pre/post cruise hotel you can arrange a shuttle to the port. If you drive, you’ll have to decide whether to park at the port or at
a hotel that has a park and cruise package.
So what next? If you’ve chosen to work with cruise specialists at Holiday Cruises and Tours (firstname.lastname@example.org), they can help determine the cruise line, time of year, duration, destination and ports of debarkation. They will provide fliers and registration forms for your members to complete and return with deposits. Then, all future payments are made to Holiday Cruises and Tours.
Things have changed. Today, more and more reunions are held aboard cruise ships and the trend is rising dramatically. Join the fun!
Reported by Edith Wagner, editor of Reunions magazine.
This is the nitty gritty part of reunion cruising. Also see “Impressions from the Getaway, a reunion at sea!” coming soon.
Look for a 2017 Seminar@Sea!